GOLF ROUNDUP: Three share lead at Tampa Bay Championship
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Kevin Streelman figured a good round Saturday would at least get him in the mix at the Tampa Bay Championship.
It wound up giving him a share of the lead.
Adam Scott and K.J. Choi led a surprising retreat at Innisbrook, allowing for a wild game of musical chairs at the top of the leaderboard with nothing remotely close to being settled going into the final round. Sixteen players were separated by only three shots.
Streelman finished his 6-under 65 nearly three hours before the last group walked off the 18th green. Justin Leonard ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn and had the lead to himself before a bogey from the bunker on the 15th. He had a 67. George Coetzee bounced back from his lone bogey with a birdie on the rowdy 17th hole, where Hooters waitresses serve wings in the grandstands. That gave him a 68.
They were tied at 6-under 207, more evidence that the Copperhead course is perhaps the most complete test in Florida. Even on a warm, breezy afternoon, it was easier to go backward that to move away from the field.
Scott and Choi were proof of that.
Scott had a two-putt birdie on the opening hole to briefly take the lead, and that was the highlight of his day. He three-putted from about 15 feet for bogey on third, made bogey with a wedge in his hand on the par-5 fifth hole and stumbled to a 76. Choi, who also was one shot out of the lead, didn’t make a birdie in his round of 76. They still were only five shots out of the lead.
LPGA: Ai Miyazato regained control in the LPGA Founders Cup, ending up with a bigger cushion than she expected after Stacy Lewis was penalized two strokes after the round in Phoenix.
Making three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine and saving par with a 12-foot putt on the finishing hole, Miyazato shot her second straight 5-under 67 after opening with a tournament-record 64. At 19-under 197, the diminutive Japanese star had a four-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Jee Young Lee.
Lewis was penalized when it was ruled that caddie Travis Wilson tested the sand before Lewis played out of a bunker on the par-4 16th. That turned a 66 into a 68 and doubled her deficit.
The penalty made the third-ranked Texan’s bid to take over the top spot in the world from Yani Tseng much more difficult Sunday. Coming off a victory two weeks ago in Singapore, Lewis would jump to No. 1 with a victory, as long as Tseng — tied for 63rd at 2 under after a 72 — finishes third or worse.
Lee, the second-round leader, had a 72. After two days in the low-90s, it only reached the mid-80s on Saturday.
CHAMPIONS: David Frost maintained a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples in the Toshiba Classic, eagling the final hole for a 5-under 66.
After opening with a 63, Frost had a 13-under 129 total. The South African made an 18-foot putt for the eagle on the par-5 18th, while Couples two-putted from 35 feet for birdie and a 66 of his own.
Jim Gallagher Jr. was third at 8 under after a 68, and Scott Hoch (64), Jay Haas (66), Bob Tway (67) and D.A. Weibring (68) were another stroke back at Newport Beach Country Club. Hoch is making his second start after returning from injuries.
PGA EUROPEAN: South Africa’s Thomas Aiken shot a 10-under 62 to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Avantha Masters. Aiken was 18 under at Greg Norman-designed Jaypee Greens in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.